The Housemaid | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Housemaid 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

The Housemaid

Based on a true story, this wildly expressive 1960 film begins a welcome series of six rarely seen works by the extravagant and eccentric Korean director Kim Ki-young. The wife of a music teacher, coveting a larger home, begins to work long hours, and the couple hires a housemaid; the music teacher's one-night stand with the maid disrupts his marriage and leads to ever-more-convoluted plot twists. A bottle of rat poison reappears like a horror-movie zombie that refuses to die--characters threaten to use it, pretend to use it, and finally actually use it. The film is pitched at a consistent level of hysteria: tight black-and-white images seem ready to explode while camera movements destabilize our sense of space, and the tension between the confined spaces and the stylized imagery and action provides a powerful metaphor for social disintegration. Critics have noted that Kim's films reflect a rapidly urbanized and industrialized Korea whose traditional patriarchy is collapsing; the critique of materialism embedded in the film's centrifugal delirium testifies to the richness of Kim's cinema. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, May 23, 8:15, 312-443-3737. -- Fred Camper

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Fred Camper

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Not One Batu Berger Park Cultural Center
July 04
Performing Arts
Guards at the Taj Steppenwolf Theatre
June 13

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories